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Oh, hey there 2012!

So, I figured I'd better post this before I forget it all. I cannot believe that a whole year just went past me. It's just such an incredible thing that when you're in the midst of something it seems to take forever but when you come out and are on the other side it feels like its flew past you. 

2011 was so so great. And yet I feel like I spent most of it waiting for something to be over, and something new to begin. On first glance, I really didn't actually love 2011 so much. I spent most of it feeling the tension of something new coming my way and not knowing how to function in that tension. But as I take a closer year I recognize that God gave me invaluable information that is going to be SO SO needed in the next season of my life. His grace is SO sweet and I see that if I had not been in this place in this season, I would not be able to enjoy the next season near as much!

Here are some of my highlights and favorite things I learned this past year:
-Awakening Chicago. CHANGED my life forever.
-I learned the preciousness of God's silence. Ah. Drives me so crazy, it feels so good. Those moments when you know He's near, just because He loves to be near us. Wow.
-Getting to see and hear Reinhard Bonnke. Seriously.
-Beginning to learn what Grace is. And just how powerful it is.
-Starting the full journey of trust. He has been teaching me so much about what trust looks like, feels like and how to live in it.
-Beginning to write my first few books. Thankful that I have actually started something that will actually get finished someday and I will actually enjoy reading/writing.
-I got a new niece! :)
-3 years...check! I'm a free woman! (thankful that there are only a handful of you that understand this)
-I've learned one of my most important lessons this year: When you learn to be thankful for what you have, it suddenly becomes overwhelmingly more than enough. It's amazing, try it.
-The new season's promises are in full swing. I'm heading to California in 3 DAYS!
-GREAT new music. Not from me. But FINALLY i feel the Christian music dynamic changing! Thank you GOD for people like Gungor, John Mark McMillan and so many others who are pushing for something that is totally their own.
-We had our first healing at Finally Free! Now the ball is rolling.
-I spoke at a Women's conference, and actually kind of enjoyed it. This is a big step!
-Passion was awakened that I know will only intensify. That's what this year was all about.

In some ways, I know this year was good, but in every way I know this year we're about to walk into is going to be even better! I don't know how to explain it except for how God explained it to me a few days ago. 

2011. Was a year that passion was stirred. Passions that we weren't always able to accomplish in ways that we wanted to. It was as if 2011 was a year of really good intentions. Good intentions that we just couldn't quite seem to get done on our own. And this year is the year of accomplishment. There will be grace to finish what the passion has been stirring inside of you. There will be help to accomplish all that God has placed in front of you because this year we will learn how to take our eyes off of our lack and off of the time and fix it on to what HE can do and accomplish through someone who is willing. 

In 2012 everything we know, will change. Change will either make you uncomfortable, or it will inspire you to press into Him even closer. It's up to you how you react to it. Will you hold on so tightly to your life that you lose it? Or will you turn and draw in closer to Him, trusting all that He's doing in you and through you? I hope the latter. 2012 has the potential to see the greatest move of God this earth has ever seen. Will you be a part? Or will you hold so tightly to all that you've known that you miss it all in order to save face and hold onto everything you've known as 'normal.' 

I pray that you have the courage to step out and trust in the grace of God. He knows how weak we are. He knows how easily we fall without Him. Turn into Him. Play your part in co-laboring with Him. And trust that He can help you accomplish all of your good intentions. I'm so looking forward to this year and I hope that you are too. Choose to look at all He's doing, and all He's saying...not what the world is saying. Look from heaven's perspective. A perspective full of life, of hope and joy. A perspective with the solutions.

Happy New Year!

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Jesus

Well. I will try very hard to keep this coherent and to what I think is the point. 

Today a 3 year old told me that I was Humpty Dumpty. Now, to most people this would mean absolutely nothing. But being the over-analytical, creative, prophetic type that I am, it of course got me thinking about a whole slew of things that I would really like to share with all of you as I begin the next big transition of my life. But first, a little context...

-The story of Humpty Dumpty, as we know it, is short and really has no point (in my mind). Humpty Dumpty was dumb enough to climb up on a wall, and then He falls down and basically dies because no one can put him back together again? The end. Cool story right? I know what all of you are thinking...oh, Lara, are you sure you're making the right decision in moving to California then? Yes. I'm sure. You see, earlier in the day this 3 year old and I had seen a different version of Humpty Dumpty on a very educational children's program. In this version of HD Humpty climbed the wall and was too scared to come down. No matter how hard the king's horses and king's men tried to help, they couldn't get Humpty down. Finally with the help of some friends, and some encouragement Humpty finally convinced himself that he could do it, and down he came, unscathed and completely happy.

Now, I know that it's not amazing literature to work with, but there was something that made me stop for a few minutes. 
I think that in a lot of ways, we're all Humpty's. We've climbed our mountains and we don't know exactly know where or how to step next. And we're scared. We're afraid we're going to fall and break ourselves so badly that we won't be able to be put back together. But this could never happen in a life of a believer who truly hears and truly sees. God is here to catch us, and He loves when we risk. 

I am Humpty Dumpty. There are so many times that even though I know that I know that I know that I've heard God but I will still find myself talking like I am unsure. There are so many things that make us do this I think. Things like fear that we haven't dealt with, pressure from others, our perceptions that still haven't changed. A lot of times we have an untrained mind that wonders wherever it likes and we have to whip it into submission to what God is saying about us in any given situation.

"Oh the joys of those who do not take the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank bearing fruit in each season. Their leaves will never wither, they prosper in all that they do." Psalm 1:1-3

I've never been good at memorizing anything. But for some reason God has had me repeating this over and over and over again this past week. It was His way of encouraging me that I really can 'come down from that wall' and step into my destiny in California. It's funny how things that are so simple make things click for me. Even something as silly as a new version on one of the most pointless, disturbing nursery rhymes ever. And while I wanted this post to be way more intricate and impressive, it is 1:11 AM and I'm watching Elf so I think I shall bring this to a close. I titled this post Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Jesus. He's given us life and liberty so that we can pursue Him freely. Without fear. Without regrets. Without any question or doubt of who He is and how much He loves us.
What are you afraid of?
What's keeping you from serving Him with your whole life?
What's making you stay how you've always been or do what you've always done?
You can do it!
You can get down!

I hear all too often, "Oh it's good you're doing these things now (traveling) while you're still young and you can!" While I hear the truth in that, and I am very aware that not everyone is called to travel and do what I do, it breaks my heart when I hear this from people who are so obviously called to something else. My prayer is that everyone who comes into contact with me will be inspired to live in such a manner that will always be willing to say 'Yes' to God in any given situation and that will have the grace to follow through on those 'yeses'. No matter what the cost. No matter what people think. Not even if it's something that's never been done before. Why not? Look again at the promise from Psalms 1. Read it over yourself. Hear God saying, if I may, "Come on (insert name here)! You can do it! I'm here. I believe in You! You're not alone. Jump and I will make sure that you do not fall." 

He died so that we could live and walk in FREEDOM. We are doing His death no justice, if we are not living life to the fullness that He gave us access to. Pursue Him with all your heart, and be willing to say yes. 

Our story...

And in spite of all of the beauty that surrounds You, You see me as the glittering gem; your precious one. This broken, old pot is a gleaming new vase. This dirty, used rag has somehow captured Your heart and affection. 

Your focus is me, though i could never deserve it.
Your love is for ME, though i could never do enough to earn it.

Is it not enough that You have saved us? That You have brought us back?
But still You do so much more than that; You take time to romance us, to romance me!

Could it be true that You're calling to the four-winds to stir our hearts back to right relationship with You?
Could it be true that Your love burns so fiercely for us that You would come and lay down Your own life?

Because if the mountains could speak, they'd tell you exactly who His first love was.
And if ocean's breakers could sing out the story this is what It'd be:

"He's loved you all along, from the very beginning. And even as He crafted us, it was You He was talking about. Would you really deny Him what He's wanted from the moment He thought of You? All of creation longs to have what you have, to be close with the great lover. No one longs for You more than Him."

And yet the choice is ours. How can I look in the face of love, and not be undone? How can I look full at mercy, and not be overwhelmed? At grace and not see my own depravity? At compassion and not realize all that He's done for me? God, how can I look at You and not be utterly convinced of not only my need for You, but my want of You? This is a love story for the ages. This is our story.


The tension of time.

Time. Oh precious time. I am amazed at the fact that depending on the circumstances of life time seems drastically different. It's crazy if you stop to think about it. We're 'stuck' at work and time seems to drag on forever causing us to feel like our whole life is dragging. We have a deadline, and time goes much too quickly, inducing stress. We are in a season of life where we are almost there but not there yet, perhaps before a major change in our life situation and time seems to be our greatest enemy; we can't quite get done what we need to, yet our lives drag along. We are on vacation and time is going much too quickly; we want vacation to last longer.

But why do allow something as simple, and silly as time dictate how we feel and how we live our lives? I do this ALL the time. I allow myself to get overwhelmed, worked up and stressed out because of this one dumb thing. This thing that doesn't and shouldn't even dictate me as a Christian...and that is time. I do not understand the strange phenomenon that has overrun not only our culture but our churches as well. We don't want to worship too long, people might get tired of standing, and we have a roast in the oven so make sure we get out on...time. It's so odd, don't you think that we live our lives in such a way that isn't any different then the world around us concerning time? I think so. We teach our children and teenagers to be involved in as many things as they want to be seemingly planning out of their lives time for their family, for fun, and especially for God. Time is such a precious commodity on this earth and though we are just foreigners in this land God has given us the realm of time to work with.

It's a commodity that I have not fully learned how to function within yet. I am chronically late. Time. It's just...weird. Am I the only Christian who thinks this? Am I just crazy? Does everyone else have a perfect concept on how to manipulate time for the better and I'm just totally out of the loop? Perhaps it's just part of my struggle with adapting to this 'home away from home.' I mean, if it was up to me, i would rather just sit in a room with Jesus all day long...I don't want to have a hard time adjusting to heaven after all, that is where we belong. It just seems to me that there are an awful lot of Christians getting super comfortable with here, and uncomfortable with there.

But. Back to the reason I started writing about this crazy thing called time. The whole reason I wanted to write this was to encourage those of you who were going through a season where you're almost there, but not there yet. This has been the story of my last 2 years. I feel like I've been on the brink of getting a breakthrough for my future for a long time and yet i cannot seem to get there. It is safe to say that I have not been incredibly pleased with my life here in Iowa...the word stuck has come to mind several times. There has been so many days and weeks where I feel that time could not go any slower and yet because I am not doing what I truly love I have felt that time is passing me by and the preciousness that time is slipping through my fingers.

For those of you going through this hold on. I believe that a better day is coming....
Today I had a vision of my life. It actually came through a song. At the beginning I was singing of my life right now here in iowa. I was singing about time in a very forlorn way-like it was taking forever and would never end. As the song progressed I saw the seasons of my life changing, and by the biggest build of the song I was where I wanted to be, doing what I want to be doing with all of my passion. By that biggest build I was singing about the precious process time can be. I realized in that moment that our breakthrough for the future seasons of time begin right now. And when we use every second properly it releases a future that we can only dream of. We all have moments when we realize that the work we put in before was valuable...but sometimes we need reminders. In this season I have needed many reminders that things don't last forever, but what you build in a season of your life does have the potential to last forever. Therefore, I must be building the best things I an with the resources available.

About a month ago I was struggling with direction in my life and i was feeling pretty discouraged. I was trying to find a new job and wasn't having any luck. I was trying to take my future into my own hands because I was not pleased with where God had placed me. I was sitting in  a coffee shop listening to pandora, writing (which is perhaps my favorite combination in all of the world) and a song came on. Here were the words:
Don't let your mind get weary and confused.
Don't let your heart get heavy, child inside you there's a strength that lasts.
Don't let your soul get lonely, child it's only time it will go by.
Don't look for love in faces, spaces it's in you that's where you'll find it.

Be here. Be here now. Be here now. 

Please do not lose your faith in me and I will not  lose faith in you.

Be here. Be here now. Be here now.

Now. This is not a Christian song, per say, but you'd better believe that i was about to lose it in that coffee shop. It is amazing how God knows exactly what we need in the moment that we need it. He knows that we do not really know how to fully function in time and seasons where transition seems to be never-ending. But I think that this song reveals the only thing we need to worry about. Being here, right now. He really will take care of the rest. Remember, our breakthrough in the next season depends on what we do with the time He's given us right here in this season.
This does not mean that we stop dreaming about what could be, but it does mean that we place a higher value on the precious things He's given us right now, in this moment. I pray that this encourages your in some way. I have so many friends and loved ones that I know are walking through this same season of life. Hold on and trust the one who has every one of our days numbered and values our lives far more than we can ever imagine. No moment is ever wasted with Him. Walk in that realization in this season.
I love you all and pray that as you walk in this tension of time, you learn to grow in trust of Him even more.  You are secure in the shadow of His wing. 

Please do not lose your faith in me and i will not lose faith in you. 

Tonight I was taken by this:
"And now, here's what I'm going to do: I'm taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I'll court her. I'll give her bouquets of roses. I'll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. She'll respond like she did as a young girl, those days when she was fresh out of Egypt. 'At that time'-this is God's message still-'you'll address me, 'Dear Husband!' and never again will you address me, 'My slave master.' I'll wash your mouth out with soap, get rid of all the dirty false-god names, not so much as a whisper of those names again. At the same time I'll make a peace treaty between you and wild animals and birds and reptiles, and get rid of all weapons of war. Think of it! Safe from beasts and bullies! 
And then I'll marry you for good--forever! I'll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness. Yes, I'll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go. You'll know me, God, for who I really am.
On the very same day, I'll answer the sky, sky will answer earth, earth will answer grain and wine and olive oil, and they'll all answer Jezreel. I'll plant her in good earth. I'll have mercy on 'no-mercy.' I'll say to Nobody, 'You're my dear Somebody.' and he'll say, 'You're my God!'" 
-Hosea 2:14-23 MSG

There were a few things that stand out to me:

1. First of all the heart of God that is shown in this passage. Israel viewed God as harsh, very serious, punisher. We see here that this was not the heart of God at all! From the very beginning He was looking for a love relationship with His people. He wants to do life with us, spend time with us, love on us. He tells His people I want to go back to the time where you totally trusted me, where you saw me act on your behalf- to a time where you wanted to be my people and I got to show you how much I cared about you. He also tells them that I will clean out your mouth with soap. In other words, 'I'll erase all of the bad perspectives you have of me and when you see me, you will never again even remember Baal.'

2. "I'll give her bouquets of roses." God gives GOOD gifts! This struck me tonight. My love language is most certainly gifts and I grew up in a family that is not the greatest at giving gifts. They've had their moments and I can literally remember every good gift that I've gotten-they're that special to me. Monday was my birthday. I realized towards the end of the day that I woke up that morning downplaying my birthday. You see, when your love language is gifts I find that if you have great expectations and then you get something that is not thought out or not what you're expecting, the heart is hurt much deeper than if you do not expect anything great at all. I realized that night that I was manifesting my disappointing past, concerning gifts, onto God. All of those times that I've prayed and nothing happened. All of those things that I've asked for things and haven't received them have made me fail to receive the fullness that God wants to grant to me. It's time that we start trusting God's word. When we ask and we don't receive it has nothing to do with the inability of God. God has no disabilities. He also wants to intervene in our lives. The problem is not His-it's ours. It could be our doubt, our disbelief. Perhaps it's our will we're trying to accomplish, and we want Him to help. Ouch. This was a huge revelation for me. God delights in me and He gives good gifts. (Jesus talked about this in Luke 11:9-13)

3." I'll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope." WOW. God loves to woo His people. Most of the time we just ignore it though. What  a redeeming thought that God will turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. I receive that word. :) Oh, and it's not just possible, it's probable.

4. We MUST examine our relationship with God. Are we living as a people who view God as a slave master? Are we just His little pawns? Because if we have that perspective I guarantee that we will be living out of a sense of duty, and not out of a sense of desire to serve Him because we know He loves us so much. We will always despise ourselves and will neglect the fact that God wants us to understand that He is our HUSBAND. At the beginning of a marriage wives do not serve their husbands because they think they must. They serve their husbands because they are in love. Things are so much easier to do for people when we are in love or understand how much they love and appreciate us. In this passage God is making His heart's intent very clear: this is a love relationship we're in. And when we understand that our whole life's perspective should change. No longer do we feel that we must do, do, do, for God and for His affection and attention. Now I simply just need to be who He's made me and I will violently guard the relationship I get to have with Him. I will also now find joy and fulfillment in the things that used to suck my energy. I now do things for God out of desire. 

5. When we're 'married' to God we get to know Him for who He really is. WOW. I am blown away by this. I can't comprehend how good this is. He wants to be intimate, with US. He not only wants to know me, He wants ME to know HIM.

6. When this happens the rest of the earth comes into alignment. It says the sky will answer the earth (rain) and the earth will answer with grain, wine, olive oil (aka, productivity) and they'll answer Jezreel. Now, Jezreel is a valley in Israel. It means God Plants. It is known as the breadbasket of Israel. From what I can tell on the sights I've searched there used to be quite a few swamps in this area but it is now lush and beautiful. I find that fascinatingly prophetic of what God is doing in the earth. He is marrying us,  we are learning how to be good spouses, and the land is responding. When we live in the fullness of the relationship God wants us to live in, the atmosphere in which we live will have no choice but to respond to what's going on in our lives. Everything around us with flourish.

I don't even know how to wrap this up. I just wanted to share what captured my heart. I hope that you find it as encouraging as I did. I want to really know God-not just about Him and I guess to sum it up-that's what He wants for us as well! He wants so desperately for all of His people to truly know Him. Even the lust-filled, dirty, adulterous nation that Israel was at the time. That was the longing of His heart then, and that's the longing of His heart now. No matter how far you've wondered. No matter the sins you've committed or the lifestyle that you're living now, He's calling you back. Hear Him singing to you, drawing you back to the wilderness where you first loved Him. Let yourself feel the pleasure He feels because of you, and dare to respond to it.

Let's recapture the love we first had, and remain in it. 


Forever Ruined from the Ordinary

As I sat trying to think about what to share about my experience in Chicago I had a hard time processing. Awakening was one of those experiences that I think I will be trying to process for the rest of my life. I think I'm only beginning to start to understand the significance of what God released in the 15,000 in attendance. One thing is for sure though; I am forever ruined from the ordinary. 

It's safe to say that life will never be the same. The ordinary, mundane has suddenly found new meaning. The everyday injustices I let just slip by suddenly has a new light. There is Hope where there was death. There is Insignificance where there was once put too much earthly emphasis. Life has taken on a new meaning. Now nothing seems impossible. My dream list is increasing at rapid rates. Tears of joy flow without much concentration. My love for God burns so much it hurts.

I loved Jesus before but I now see that was only a glimpse. It was just a whisper of the life I get to live with Him now.  Awakening has wrecked my life forever. I know I'm changed. I am not satisfied with trying to justify the mediocre life that I've always lived. I can no longer justify being filled with God and letting the world around me die. I have heard His call and I long to answer Him not by a few actions, and not by pretty speech, but with my LIFE.
I accept that I will mess up, that I will fail. That I will make mistakes and say the wrong words. I know that I don't have a clue what I'm doing; that I don't even know how to pray for people, that I don't even know how to adequately hear His voice. But I will no longer let those be excuses that paralyze me from starting over. I won't let myself live in fear that I will never change. Because it's not about me, it's all about Him. It's about His love. It's about the fact that He covers our weaknesses and uses the strengths He's gifted us with.

Here's a few of my favorite things about Awakening:
-"Be more concerned about what goes in, than what comes out" -Sean Smith
-Testimonies! Seriously, if people STILL don't think that God heals, go talk to the people who are no longer in wheel chairs! :)
-Worshiping. There's way too much to tell here. From encounters with worshiping with angels, to hearing Jesus sing songs back to me. Most of the time I just stood in awe of what God was igniting in 15,000 people. There was so much laughter, so much joy, so much hope resounding out of me. And let's not forget the 20 minutes of solid spontaneous praise at 120dbs. Nothing like that in the whole world.
-Sitting under the anointing of Reinhart Bonnke. He made my heart burn for Jesus like no one I've ever heard before.
-Bill Johnson's message on honor. His words pierced my heart. Lifestyle altering.
-AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE. haha. Mama Cindy is of kindred spirit.
-How excited I am now for the secret place and how much more I will protect it now. (Thank you Banning)
-The significance of the All State Arena's positioning. I am amazed at how many planes flew directly over the sound we were releasing into the air. I think that is a demonstration of how fast and how far spreading this fire that was released will reach. Incredible!

-I think my favorite thing though was something that God whispered to me in worship the last night. It's why I joined the throng of yelling worshipers. "This is only just the beginning," He said, "This is only just the start. This is a launching pad for what's coming. You don't have to just look back on this as a great event. It's the start."

Yep. That's what I've come back to. I am not who I was. I don't have to do things the way I always did. I am forever ruined forever from the ordinary. Look out world. A generation that operates in power and honor is coming your way. The world will never be the same.

I am a Cardinal.

Hello all. It has been an epicly long time. Ridiculous if you ask me. 

For all of you who thought this was going to be at all related to the St. Louis cardinals, sorry. It's not at all. 

Tonight I decided to spend some time outside. This week has not been one of my strongest and I decided I needed to decompress and do what I love to do the most-write for no reason at all about nothing at all. My mom has done an amazing job of making our backyard something that is almost Alice in Wonderland worthy. There are flowers everywhere, our garden, bird feeders, gnomes, a bottle tree, whirly gadgets, and things that make no sense at all whatsoever. If you know me at all, this is my kind of place. I was enjoying my time in the lovely setting sunlight when I heard a very distinct calling...it was a cardinal. 

Now, to those of you not graced by living in the midwest or east...a cardinal male is a bright red color, and a female is a dull grey/brown with lesser red undertones. They have such a unique call when they are calling for each other, I can recognize it more than any other bird we have around here. 

Back to my story. I looked up from my writing and there, directly across the yard from me, was a male cardinal sitting on our clothesline. Then I heard God say to me, "You are that cardinal." I have to admit that I was a bit confused for a minute. First of all, that was a male cardinal, and second of all I thought, "this bird is going to fly away in 2 seconds, what in the world could I learn from it?"  As I watched the cardinal calling for His mate He was calling with everything within Him. His little body would literally shake and shake from Him calling as loudly as possible. A couple of times I thought He was actually going to fall off of the clothesline He was shuddering so much. After doing this for 5 minutes He took off. 

Ten minutes later, He was back at a different part of our yard facing a different direction doing the same thing. This time as I watched "myself" I noticed that the cardinal would call and then wait, looking in anticipation for the other cardinal that I didn't even know existed at this point. After another 2 to 3 minutes He flew off again.

Five minutes later He was back again this time flying all over the yard obviously searching for something, calling in between looking. This time the cardinal flew away He didn't come back for awhile. I pondered all that I had seen, trying to make sense of it all.

I realized that this season of my life has been exactly like that cardinal. It seems like no matter how hard I try and no matter how desperately I call out to God to know what's next, to know where He is and where He's taking me, I can't seem to get an answer. There's a lot of Calling. Calling, then waiting. Calling, then waiting. Calling, then waiting. And sometimes when I call out I'm using everything within me. Shuddering, and almost falling off of the clothesline.
But just like the cardinal, I am trying with everything to be relentless. There's nothing I want more than to be faithful and find God's will for my life. I don't ever want to give up, even when I'm searching and can't quite seem to find where He's taking me. 
And no matter how much i have to call and wait, I will do it with anticipation that redemption is right on the horizon waiting for me. 

Because, the story doesn't stop there. 
The cardinal found His mate. And we'll find God's will and plan. I had to laugh as I watched the poor male cardinal try to keep up with the faster, stronger, female cardinal. Seems like that is the story of our lives with God. But, oh the joy and euphoria I saw as i watched the 2 cardinals dance in flight around our magical backyard. Happy and free at last, the male cardinal no longer looked and called with strained anticipation. I cannot wait for that moment, when I have passed from this season on to where I'm flying free and fulfilled. But for the moment I will call out and watch in humble anticipation.

Perhaps there are some of you who are in a season like this. Where you know that there is more for you but you just simply don't know how to get there. I hope you find this story encouraging. Call out and wait, for your redeemer is at hand. Hold on. Daylight is coming. Redemption is near. A new season approaches. Remain in Him and watch Him work on behalf of you.


Psalm 30:
I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.
You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you restored my health.
You brought me up from the grave, O Lord.
You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!
Praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
When I was prosperous, I said,
“Nothing can stop me now!”
Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.
Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.
I cried out to you, O Lord.
 I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
“What will you gain if I die,
 if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you?
Can it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O Lord.”
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!


One Royal Night

 This is what happens when I live in Iowa and I get bored. 

I give you dear friends my favorite parts of the Royal Wedding.

1) The sermon. This one is legit. I am SUCH a sap but it was one of the most beautifully written wedding sermons I've ever heard. Eloquent, deep and moving. Fantastic. 
2)All of the awkward, half-muffled coughs during the long pauses. Westminster Abbey has some pretty great acoustics for coughing. 
3)The timpani player. SO COOL.
4)This was a tie between a sweet white bow tie in the choir and the cutest little asian kid I've ever seen who happened to have the voice of an angel. 
5)The fact that no one got an eye poked out by a crazy hat or fascinator is a freaking miracle.
6)The nose picker who gets reprimanded by his wife and then has a laughing fit. EPIC.
7) (actually my least favorite) All of the ornate costumes of the church hierarchy and then the 2 nuns...wearing grey. (barf)
8)The groom showing off His bide after they're married. So sweet. (can you imagine what our procession with God will be? WOW)

9)How totally nonchalant Harry is. Really dude? You're a freaking Prince! Stop talking! hahaha
10)The Queen. Of course. I mean, she's adorable. And FREAKING powerful. I love her.

 I hate starting blogs. It's one of the most awkward feelings in the world. :)

I have a lot on my mind so hopefully this randomness comes out in some what of an organized fashion. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about just how often we undermine ourselves. Now perhaps this is something that I only do to myself but as I've been observing people the last few weeks I don't think it's just me. I first wanted to write this blog almost 2 weeks ago but I didn't first because i didn't think it would help anyone (undermining myself) and second because i think God really did want me to see that i wasn't alone in this. 

I think that often times when we are in seasons of our lives we often come before God (and rightfully so) and say, "God I want to do everything that you have me to do in this season. But God I don't want to do any more in this season then you have for me to do, i don't want to overstep." Sometimes I wonder though if we practice outright the latter of those two more often. Due to our 'humble' hearts we often become so humble that we actually do nothing for God out of fear of doing 'too much.' Like somehow we can overdo what God wants us to do or say and like somehow He is not going to be able to stop us if we do. Also, just a side thought, Satan never wants us to do anything for God, so why not try to do 'too much.'

My whole life I've struggled with being able to communicate what's truly in my heart effectively. Social awkwardness accompanied with lack of self awareness or confidence usually made for broken conversations about things that i really did not actually care about but what i thought people wanted to hear. So now that I actually know what i truly love and can communicate slightly more effectively I find myself questioning if it's the right time or if people will actually listen. I've never wanted to share something from my heart before and I find myself wondering if it's "God's timing" to share the things that He's so obviously placed upon my heart to share. Since when is it NOT the season to share the goodness that God has placed in your heart?

Truth is, when you have your heart set on pleasing God, and living in His presence you can trust the things you want to share with the world. You can trust that He's big enough to cover you if you say something wrong or out of season. You can trust that the Holy Spirit will give you wisdom in every situation you find yourself in. My point is, we need to start being more worried about not doing all that God has for us to do in a season.  There are people all around you that need what God has given YOU to represent Him in this land.

Every person represents a part of God that no one else will ever be able to represent to the world ever again. Every person has a ministry within them that is a love language to the world from God that people need to hear. We need to live lives that hold life and have significance. I'm so much more concerned about taking every opportunity and trusting that God will take care of me even when I miss it. If i say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing at least i know that I tried, and risked, and trusted that God is big enough to handle it. Besides, He is SO gracious. 

In the 1700s the Moravians coined the phrase "The Lamb is worthy to receive the rewards of His sufferings." Meaning that Jesus gave it all and so He's worthy to receive all of us. I think it's time that the church starts to really think about this statement before we do anything at all. We HAVE to stop second guessing ourselves. When we question a gift that God has given us, we question God's creative abilities. He knew exactly what He was doing. He gives us gifts and then He trusted us with them! We have to stop being so worried about getting everything perfect before we do anything. When we do that we live in fear and we make ourselves unavailable to the world's needs. We must lead lives that gives the lamb the FULL rewards of His sufferings trusting that His grace will be sufficient until we do get it exactly right. 

I know that there are different seasons. We have learning seasons, resting seasons, seasons of strategy, seasons of doing, seasons of glory. But whatever season you are in, do it well. Be all in the season that God has you in. Give Him His full reward in that season. 

This is such a message for me in this season of my life. I'm gonna be vulnerable with you (because I think that's one thing I hold that is an attribute of God) I have for far too long led a life that would make people assume that I am somehow ashamed of how God has created me. I have led a life that would say to the world, "God has not given me anything to offer." When in reality I could not think anything further from that. God has totally transformed me. He has placed within me more than I ever thought possible. I have seeds to plant, water to feed, and sun light to nurture and it's time i stop harboring it for myself.  These words that I write are an attempt to give away some of what He has given to me. I don't know who they're for but even if they're only for one it will be worth it. I will not keep what He has given so freely just for myself. 

And my prayer is neither will you. God is FOR us. He wants to see us victorious and shining His glory. This isn't some sort of strange self-confidence that can be mustered up, it is a strength that is released from God Himself onto all of the church. He has not made a sad and defeated church, He has made a church who 'serves with the heart of a King, and Rules with the heart of a servant.' All of us look different and have different gifts, but we are of the same Spirit. The Spirit that rose Christ Jesus from the dead. 

I love you all. Go conquer the mountains that God has empowered you to conquer.


Never lose heart.

 "Here on this earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

It's amazing how sometimes when we walk through life we only remember the first part of that verse. It's so easy for us to lose heart.  But God, He never loses heart. These last few weeks I've been learning this firsthand. Sadly there have been far too many times when I was totally consumed with the obvious statement of this verse, and not the promise that it holds.

"On this earth, you will have many trials and sorrows."
Every where we look around us we see trials and sorrows. The earth shaking, people dying, moral corruption abounding. In our personal lives we take note of every bill, every pain, every harsh word, and every negative thing that our minds can find or make up. We're left helpless, broken and apathetic. When we dwell on everything bad around us we end up questioning God, not understanding where He's at, all the while He is there waiting for us to shift our focus from our lack back onto Him and His abundant provision. He's there patiently waiting for us to acknowledge His ability and our role as co-laborers rather than spending our time, energy and efforts being grumbling employees of a 'god who doesn't care for the human condition.' But who could care more than God? Who has a more selfless love than that of a God who would sacrifice His own son for a race who continually denies Him to His face? No one. Nothing is greater than that love.

All this to say that our focus must remain on Him when we seem overwhelmed by the things of this world. He is the "Author and Perfecter of our Faith." I love that perfecter is in this verse. This means that we all have stuff that we are going to mess up at some point in our lives. It means it's a process, it's a relationship in which we get to learn straight from Jesus how to walk through the trials and sorrows as beacons of light and faith. It means at times we will try to do too much. At times we'll wimp out and not say or do something we should have. Sometimes we will have no money in our bank account and yet have lofty ambitions. Sometimes we will be vision-less and broken, orphaned and alone, or whatever! "Take heart, for I have overcome the world." "Take heart, for I have overcome the world." Yes. I just typed it twice. Do you get it? Do you understand what that means for us? HE overcame the world. WE don't have to! We just get to share in that. It's such a huge promise for us to be able to rest in.

I know that this is the word of the Lord over the church right now. I just wanted to encourage you. As times get darker God will strengthen you so much that you won't even recognize yourself. This church that He is raising up is not a weak one. No matter how hopeless your situation, no matter how dark or bleak, trust that He is doing something greater. In ALL things trust Him. When life is screaming distractions at you, silence your heart with childlike trust in God's promises. Take Him at His word undiluted. Rejoice because He has overcome the world, and we are in Him.

These are some of the quotes that have totally been reassuring me. Take heart church!

"God never loses heart. NEVER." -A.W. Tozer

"Never ever ever EVER lose heart." -Brian Johnson

"If anyone can do it, it's you. Keep the dream alive because God is on your side!" -Brian Houston 

(and my favorite) Romans 5:3-5 (msg)
"We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary-we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"